How insufficient life insurance coverage can pose risks?

Getting life insurance is fine, but are you sure you have the coverage you require? When was the last time you reassessed the adequacy of your current life insurance cover? If it has been a while, chances are that you might be underinsured. 

Inadequate life insurance is called underinsurance, and if not addressed, it can leave your family’s financial future less secure than you intended. Let us understand what it is in detail and how you can make sure that your insurance cover is sufficient.

How insufficient life insurance is problematic

Insufficient life insurance is problematic at multiple levels. You should always use a life insurance calculator to determine your required coverage. Here is an illustration of how inadequate life cover may be dangerous as well- 

Ravi is a 32-year-old professional working in a private company earning Rs. 12 lakh per year. His monthly expenses are around ₹60,000. He has a term insurance plan that offers Rs. 30 lakh coverage in return for an annual premium of Rs. 14,000. The policy is slated to cover him till he turns 60. He also has a health insurance plan in place to cover any medical expenses that may arise during an emergency and has a diverse portfolio of investments to create a retirement corpus for himself.

Now imagine a scenario where Ravi, unfortunately, passes away after 4-5 years, leaving his family distraught. Being the only earning member, his insurance payout of Rs. 30 lakh is what his family will receive along with their existing savings and other investment returns. Considering that his monthly expenditure by this time has gone up to Rs. 70,000 per month, to maintain the same lifestyle, will Rs. 30 lakh be sufficient for the family? Even if the expenses stay the same (which is unlikely if you consider the current rate of inflation), this amount will only last for around 4 years and will barely help them scrape by, and they may have to compromise on many things. His children’s future education and other goals may also hang in the balance. 

Too many people make the error of being underinsured. Here’s how underinsurance may impact families: 

  1. Smaller events such as medical treatments and hospitalization may impact long-term income and savings
  2. The family’s lifestyle and future goals may drastically decline in case of the policyholder’s demise
  3. The family may have to compromise on the higher education of children, without a definite source of future income
  4. If there are loans/debts to pay, then the family may be further constrained financially

How you should choose the suitable insurance coverage

As mentioned, you can always use a life insurance calculator to determine the maximum coverage you can get for a certain premium amount. However, you should calculate your life coverage after accounting for these factors: 

  1. Household Costs – Keep inflation in mind and estimate how much your family will need to maintain the same lifestyle in the future. This should cover all debts, liabilities, investments, and other fixed and variable monthly costs. 
  2. Medical Costs – These automatically increase as you age and may not always be covered under health insurance plans. Consider whether you require riders for critical illnesses or accidental death/disability. Also, consider a reserve sum needed to meet increasing medical expenditure with age.
  3. Future Life Goals – Consider long-term goals like your children’s higher education and weddings, keeping inflation as a factor while estimating future costs. Consider any loans you might have taken and the repayments of the same as well. 

One of the following methods may be helpful to you in calculating your ideal cover amount:

  • Income Replacement Method: This is among the simplest methods for figuring out how much coverage you require. It operates under the premise that your term insurance plan’s amount assured should be large enough to replace your yearly income in the event of your passing.
  • Expenses-Oriented Method: To get the needed term insurance coverage, subtract any existing life insurance or investments from the financial safety net required by your family, which includes your daily costs, debts, and loans, as well as your retirement and other life goals.
  • Human Life Value (HLV) Method: The HLV method incorporates several variables to calculate the optimal level of term insurance coverage required, including your income, expenses, liabilities, future aspirations, and more. It is a relatively more accurate way to determine how much coverage you can purchase because it also considers inflation.

Some other tips while choosing life coverage

  • Add suitable riders to the policy – Go for critical illness, accidental death or disability and even premium waiver riders. Several riders give you additional benefits in the form of extended coverage. 
  • Buy your insurance plan online – You should do this to access the different types of plans available and compare their features, benefits, and other inclusions/exclusions. This will help you take more informed decisions per your comfort and convenience. You can also compare policy amounts and premiums. Online insurance plans are also slightly affordable compared to those bought offline. 

Investing in sufficient life coverage and knowing that your loved ones will be financially secure in your absence always leads to greater peace of mind. Calculate future requirements carefully, keeping inflation at the forefront and do not hesitate to take professional guidance if required. Here’s to moving from being underinsured to suitably insured! 

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